Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

5 Best Dog Foods for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Weight & Muscle: 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Tan and White Pitbull puppy

Pitbulls are active, hardworking canines and need a well-balanced diet to help them grow from rambunctious puppies into strong dogs. But with all the different dog food brands out there, how can you tell which will take care of your puppy’s needs?

In this article, we’ve collected the top five best dog foods to help your Pitbull puppy gain weight and muscle and have included in-depth reviews for each. Armed with these reviews and our super-informative buyer’s guide, you’ll never waste time wading through the pet food aisle again!

Divider 5

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Wellness CORE Large Breed Wellness CORE Large Breed
  • First ingredient is deboned chicken
  • No by-products
  • or artificial dyes or preservatives
  • Supports muscle growth
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Taste of the Wild Grain-Free
  • First three ingredients are animal proteins
  • Nutrient-rich
  • No grains or fillers
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Elite K9 Nutrition Max Elite K9 Nutrition Max
  • First two ingredients are animal protein
  • Contains probiotics
  • High-quality grains only
  • Earthborn Holistic Great Earthborn Holistic Great
  • Many whole food ingredients
  • No by-product ingredients
  • Builds lean muscle
  • Bully Max High Super Premium Bully Max High Super Premium
  • More calories per serving
  • For puppies 4 weeks or older
  • The 5 Best Foods for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Muscle

    1. Wellness CORE Large Breed Puppy Dog Food – Best Overall

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

    The Wellness brand of dog food almost always makes it to the top of our list. The company is committed to high-quality ingredients and carefully balances the vitamins and minerals in each batch for maximum nutritional value. This blend is high protein and full of good fats, which means it will support your Pit Bull puppy’s joints, brain development, as well as strong muscle and bone growth.

    One of the best parts about Wellness CORE puppy food is that it does not have any filler grains that may upset your pup’s tummy. It is almost completely made from natural, whole-food ingredients which are so much better for your dog than additives and cornmeal.

    The Wellness brand is on the expensive side, but if you really want to help your Pit Bull puppy grow big and strong, Wellness CORE dog food is one of the best options out there and comes in the top spot for best dog food for your Pitbull puppy!

    • Formulated specifically for large-breed puppies
    • First ingredient is deboned chicken
    • No by-products, artificial dyes, or preservatives
    • Animal protein plus nutritional supplements to support muscle growth
    • Full of natural, nutrient-dense whole foods including vegetables and fruit
    • No grains or filler ingredients
    • Moderately expensive

    2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Proving that you don’t have to break the bank to feed your dog well, Taste of the Wild easily comes in as our choice for the best food for Pitbull puppies to gain weight and muscle for the money.

    Our puppy testers loved the taste of the diverse blend of proteins—bison, venison, and lamb, oh my! —and we love the superior quality of the meats. Pasture-raised animal protein is positively packed with nutrients that are often lacking in meat that is factory-farmed.

    And the rest of the ingredients are just as high-quality as the protein, which means that your Pit Bull puppy will have all the nutritional support necessary to absorb and use all those great vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. No filler grains or artificial ingredients here!

    It is important to note that this dog food is not specifically made for puppies, so it may not be appropriate depending on your puppy’s age and development. You will need to get vet approval and gradually transition your Pit Bull, seeing if it agrees with them before swapping foods completely.

    • First three ingredients are animal proteins
    • Nutrient-rich whole food ingredients, veggies, and fruit
    • No grains or filler ingredients
    • No artificial colors or preservatives
    • Probiotics and prebiotics support healthy gut flora
    • For adult dogs

    3. Elite K9 Nutrition Max Bully Dog Food – Premium Choice

    Elite K9 Maximum Bully

    If you are looking for a premium dog food that absolutely delivers when it comes to building healthy weight and muscle, check out the Elite K9’s Maximum Bully food. It has multiple animal protein and fat sources, as well as plant-based proteins specially paired for muscle growth.

    We especially love the careful attention Elite K9 pays to balancing vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. Elite K9 has properly portioned these already super healthy nutrients so they work together to boost your pup’s energy, muscle growth, and whole-body development. Smart and effective!

    However, for the high price, we wish that there were more whole foods in this kibble. Nearly all the nutrient-dense fruits and veggies come from dried sources—still good for your dog, but the drying process loses a ton of those good nutrients. And, once again, this food is an adult dog food formula.

    Given the lack of whole foods, the adult dog formulation, and the high price tag it is inadvisable to start your Pit Bull puppy on this food before you talk to your veterinarian.

    • Specially formulated to build healthy muscle
    • First two ingredients are animal protein
    • Contains probiotics to aid digestion
    • High-quality grains only – no wheat, soy, or corn
    • For adult dogs
    • Most expensive on our list

    4. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Dog Food

    Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Earthborn’s bison-based dog food has many good things going for it: it is full of nutrient-dense whole food veggies and fruits, it has no grains to bother your puppy’s belly, and the formula is specifically designed to build lean muscle and help energetic dogs like the Pit Bull stay active.

    While the quality of most ingredients in Earthborn’s food is quite high, unfortunately, their animal proteins may be suspect. The meat ingredients are all “meals” which are most often made from the leftovers of an animal and can contain some gnarly stuff like hair and hooves.

    That’s not what you want to see for such an important source of nutrients in your dog’s food! For the price, we really hoped to see better quality ingredients.

    Questionable quality of meats mixed with the fact that this is an adult dog formula means that this is a decent choice, but perhaps better as a backup or a supplement for variety.

    • Formulated to burn fat and build lean muscle for active dogs
    • Many whole food ingredients, like fruits and vegetables
    • No by-product ingredients, or filler grains
    • For adult dogs
    • Expensive for the quality
    • All the animal proteins are “meal” or dried

    5. Bully Max High Performance Super Dog Food

    Bully Max High Performance Dog Food

    Bully Max is a high-calorie dog food that will help most dogs add weight and muscle to their frame. The blend is high in protein and has both plant and animal sources of protein and fat.

    There are, however, several downsides that we noticed. There are no whole vegetables or fruit, and the majority of the vitamins and minerals seem to come from additives. Additives are much less nutritionally dense than the whole foods themselves, and we frankly expected better ingredients for the price.

    Most frustrating though, is the fact that they use cheap meat meals as the main protein sources. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for building healthy muscle, and you do not want to have to wonder if the protein in your dog’s food is full of unsavory “leftover” parts. High-protein meals are important.

    This food may be appropriate for helping an underweight pup bulk up, but we do not recommend it as a regular meal base if you want to make sure your dog has a well-balanced diet. Bully Max overcharges for a relatively low-quality, but high calorie, dog food.

    • More calories per serving than any food in its class
    • For puppies 4 weeks or older and adult dogs
    • All animal proteins are “meal”
    • No whole vegetables or fruits
    • Most vitamins and minerals are additives, not as effective
    • Overpriced with low-quality ingredients

    Divider 3

    Buyer’s Guide – Picking the Best Dog Food for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Muscle

    Can my Pit Bull puppy eat raw meat?

    Yes! Always check with your vet first, but most dogs do remarkably well with some raw meat in their diet. High-quality animal protein is also one of the best foods for helping your Pit Bull build healthy muscle.

    Turkey, chicken, duck, quail, pheasant, rabbit, venison, beef, pork, salmon, tuna, shrimp, and a variety of seafood are all excellent sources of complete, healthy protein for your Pit Bull.

    Am I allowed to give my Pit Bull puppy peanut butter?

    As long as it is in moderation and the natural kind with no sugar or oil added, then yes! Peanut butter is full of healthy fats and protein, and most dogs love the taste. Try putting some inside a favorite toy and sit back for some hilarious tongue antics!

    american pitbull terrier puppy
    Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

    Can I share my fruit with my Pit Bull puppy?

    Many dogs love fruit, and they can be a healthy part of a Pit Bull puppy’s diet. Remember to feed them sparingly due to sugar content, remove larger pits and some seeds, and avoid a few toxic ones.

    A few safe fruits include bananas, apples (not the seeds), watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, and strawberries.

    Toxic fruit to never give a dog include grapes, cherries, plums, lemons, and limes.

    What about veggies?

    Of course! Once again, there are some you should avoid (all alliums, for example), but many that dogs go bonkers for. Serve all unseasoned and cooked to make sure you don’t upset their tummy.

    Some safe vegetables for your Pit Bull puppy to try include carrots, broccoli, cucumber, green beans, sweet potato, and pumpkin.

    Vegetables to avoid (some of which are highly toxic) include asparagus, mushrooms, and all alliums like onions and garlic.

    Divider-Dog bone- New

    Nutrition for a Pit Bull Puppy

    Like us, dogs are omnivores and need a diverse array of nutrients that can be found in animal meats, vegetables, and fruits. In this section we will go over all the different essential nutrients for canines, and which are best for helping your Pit Bull puppy grow up strong and healthy.


    While most of us know that protein is super important for muscle growth, you may be surprised to find that it also helps your dog keep their skin, nails, and fur healthy. Additionally, high-protein food helps dogs recover from injuries and grow their frame/skeleton as well as weight.

    For the athletic Pit Bull, complete proteins are a necessity. Complete proteins have all nine amino acids, which makes the strength-building nutrients in proteins more available for the body to use. Examples of complete proteins that are good for Pit Bull puppies are lean meats (like fish and fowl) and eggs.


    Fats are one of your dog’s main sources of fuel, and they also deliver essential nutrients quickly and efficiently to their system. A proper balance of fats will keep your dog’s skin hydrated, coat shiny, and help their paws and noses stay pliable and resilient.

    Good quality fats and fatty acids are of particular importance to a hardworking dog like the Pit Bull. Fats provide dense energy for exercise, brain functioning, growing strong muscles, and also support and lubricate joints. Many varieties of fish are rich in good fats and fatty acids like omega-3s and 6s.

    Man shopping in supermarket reading product information
    Image Credit: LADO, Shutterstock


    Carbohydrates are another excellent source of energy for your dog. There are two types of carbs: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs such as sugars and starches provide quick bursts of energy.

    To promote endurance and strength in your Pit Bull puppy, however, complex carbs are the way to go. Most vegetables and grains fall into the category of complex carbs and will give your dog steady, prolonged energy for their active life.


    Fiber is one of the main nutrients that keep your dog’s digestive system regular and smooth. Many vegetables are rich in fiber, but often dog foods get the most fiber from grains.

    Nutrient-rich grains that most dog’s bellies have an easy time digesting with include brown rice, oats, quinoa, and barley. A grain should not be the first thing on an ingredients list for your Pit Bull puppy’s food, even if it is a healthy one.

    Some grains are cheap, low in nutritional value, and just used as filler in dog food. For those reasons you should avoid grains like wheat, corn, soy, and by-products grains. No need to gum up your energetic pup’s body with low-quality foods that won’t help them grow!

    Vitamins and Minerals

    Your Pit Bull puppy’s diet should also have a spread of vitamins and minerals. And don’t just settle for additives on the ingredients list – these nutrients are most bioavailable, and therefore useful to your growing pup, when eaten as the whole foods that contain those vitamins and minerals.

    Check the nutritional chart of your dog food options for calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. A proper balance of these support bone growth and health, which will serve the Pit Bull puppy well as they grow into a strapping adult dog. Vitamins that are helpful to your Pit Bull puppy include choline, biotin, folic acid, vitamin A, D, K, and many more.

    A Pit Bull puppy’s diet may also benefit from:
    • Antioxidants, supports healthy eyes and immune system
    • Glucosamine, promotes joint health


    Unhealthy Ingredients in Pit Bull Puppy Food

    All dog food is not created equal. Plenty of brands try to distract consumers with factoids about wolf ancestry, or fabulous health claims. But you’ll need to stay a little skeptical if you don’t want to get suckered in.

    While the information on the wrapper of a dog food cannot be false or intentionally misleading, it is an ad. Don’t let a fancy sales pitch fool you — look at the ingredient list to get a real idea of the quality.

    An informative experiment you can do when looking at ingredient lists is to ask yourself, “Would I want to eat that?” Spinach? Heck yes! High fructose corn syrup? Not so sure about that. Animal by-product? Wait… what now?

    Here are some low-quality ingredients that lots of companies use to keep their food as cheap as possible to produce:
    • Brewers rice (leftover fragments of white rice being processed)
    • Corn syrup and refined sugars
    • Large amounts of grain, specifically grains such as corn, soy, and wheat
    • Cellulose
    • Artificial dyes (like red 40, yellow 6, or caramel color) and preservatives (BHT and BHA are common)
    • Meat meal and by-product meat
    • Rendered fats, usually called something like “poultry fat” or just “animal fat”

    Divider 2Conclusion

    Though the competition is fierce, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food stands out as our best overall choice of best dog food for Pitbull puppies to gain muscle and weight. It is a puppy food that has nutritious whole food ingredients, multiple sources of complete proteins and healthy fats, and no fillers — yes please!

    And for those with a stricter budget, you’ll love Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food doesn’t trade out quality for price, making it an obvious best value choice.

    We hope that these detailed reviews and educational buyer’s guide can help you find the right dog food to help your Pit Bull puppy grow up big and strong.

    Happy munching!

    Featured Image: Pickpik

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database